AN impoverished Ulster poet has taken the desperate step of appealing to the public for help in getting a computer to pen and then store his lyrical musings on.
John McMenamin, from Spamount near Castlederg, took the unusual tactic of taking out a classified advertisement in the press to ask for help in getting a computer to help compose his verses.
The advertisement read: ''Poor Poet, quite well known, seeks sponsorship.
Requires a new or secondhand laptop from computer store or kind person.'' Mr McMenamin said yesterday that he decided to appeal for help because there was just no money in poetry and he simply couldn't afford one.
The Tyrone bard is renowned for his humorous poems which are regularly read out by Gerry Anderson on his BBC radio show.
He revealed he's also looking for a publisher.
He told the News Letter: ''I'm selfpublished, and sell quite well.
''My last book was, Poems for Paupers, Peasants, Perverts and Psychopaths.
''I called it that to cover everyone in Northern Ireland.
''It sold very well at Eason's in Belfast and even knocked John Grisham off the stop spot for a week, but as Seamus Heaney said 'There's no money in poetry and no poetry in money'.
''I've never had a computer and have always used typewriters, but it's now getting nearly impossible to get the ribbons and correction tapes for them.'' Mr McMenamin said he was also worried about losing much of his material, as using a typewriter meant there are very limited copies.
''I send a lot of my material to Gerry Anderson, but the problem is then it goes out of my head and I have to tape it from his show and then write it out again or it's lost.
''This means I'm sitting there with my finger on the tape button waiting for him to read it out.
''If I had a computer I could store my work on it and print copies out.'' He says he would like to be seen as an Ulster Rabbie Burns: ''I write mainly in doggerel form and use a lot of local words.
''I think if you don't get it on the first try, then there's not much point and I'm always humorous.'' Mr McMenamin is not limited to poetry and has also developed a character, Rosie Ryan from Clogher, who also regularly writes to Gerry Anderson about her life and her son Bon Jovi.
Rosie's collected letters have also been published in book form.
Anyone who can help Mr McMenamin can contact him on 028 8167 9592.